Hometown Intern – Ally Sedlacek

Name: Ally Sedlacek
Hometown: O’Neill
Affiliated Fund: Holt County Economic Development
School: University of Nebraska – Kearney

What’s it like to return to your community after being away for a while?
Returning home after being away for a while is an emotional and reflective experience. Nostalgia hits as I see familiar sights, revisit old places, and catch up with family and friends. Changes in the community surprise me, but some things remain the same, providing comfort. Reflecting on my growth and enjoying local traditions and food makes me feel more connected to my roots. The mix of joy and comfort can be bittersweet, but makes it all deeply rewarding. I have so much love for my hometown.

What are some of your hometown’s greatest assets?
My hometown has many great assets. Known as the “Irish Capital of Nebraska,” we host a large St. Patrick’s Day celebration, reflecting our strong Irish heritage. It is also a friendly atmosphere, and local events foster a strong sense of community. Surrounded by beautiful rural landscapes, O’Neill offers plenty of outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, and walking the Cowboy Trail. As an agricultural hub, O’Neill supports a thriving farming and ranching industry. My town also features historic landmarks and cultural institutions like the O’Neill Public Library. Quality schools provide excellent education and local business contributes to a vibrant economy. Additionally, O’Neill has great health care facilities and recreational programs that promote an active lifestyle. These assets make  O’Neill a cherished hometown and great place to live.

What about the NCF Internship experience stands out to you so far? Why?
Many things stand out to me about the NCF Internship experience including dynamic team collaboration, mentorship, and a focus on bettering Nebraska communities. Working with a diverse team in my hometown, as well as getting to learn from other hometown interns, has been creative and educational. Mentors have helped guide my growth, and making a difference has given purpose to the experience. Overall, the internship so far has been very eye-opening and I’m excited to see how much I’ll learn over the rest of the summer.

Everyone has gifts and talents to share. What do you hope to share with your hometown this summer?
This summer, I hope to share my gifts and talents with my hometown by helping people and showcasing the amazing individuals in our community through my video project, “The People of Holt County.” I aim to lend a hand wherever needed, using my skills and positive attitude to support local events and initiatives. Through my video project, I want to highlight the unique stories and talents of our residents, celebrating what makes our community special. By sharing these stories, I hope to foster a greater sense of connection and pride among everyone in Holt County.

What should older adults know about your generation of Nebraskans?
Older adults should know that my generation of Nebraskans is passionate, innovative, and deeply connected to our community. We value our roots and traditions while embracing new ideas and technologies to drive progress. We are committed to making a positive impact, whether through volunteering, advocating for social/environmental issues, or supporting local businesses. Our generation is diverse and inclusive, striving to make a more equitable and vibrant community for everyone. We are eager to learn from older generations while also bringing fresh perspectives and energy to the table, working together to build a brighter future for Nebraska.

What makes you feel most attached to your hometown?
What makes me feel most attached to my hometown is undoubtedly the people. It’s the warmth of their familiar faces, the shared memories, and the sense of belonging that comes from being part of a close-knit community. The relationships I have built over the years, from childhood friends to neighbors and local business owners, are what make my hometown feel like home. Whether it’s coming together to celebrate milestones, support each other during challenging times, or simply sharing a friendly conversation, the people of my hometown are what truly make it special to me.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of your community?
My hopes and dreams for the future of my community are rooted in a vision of inclusivity, sustainability, and prosperity for all. I dream of a community where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives. I hope to see our community thrive economically, with opportunities for growth and innovation that benefit residents of all ages and backgrounds. Ultimately, my vision is for a community where everyone feels valued, empowered, and inspired to contribute to its ongoing success. I want this to be a place where people come back and settle.

What are you looking for in a place to call home?
When I think about finding a place to call home, several factors come to mind. Firstly, I value a sense of safety and security, knowing that my surroundings are conducive to a peaceful and comfortable lifestyle. Additionally, I value a vibrant community with diverse opportunities for social interaction, cultural experiences, and personal growth. Access to amenities such as parks, recreational facilities, and local businesses is important to me, as they contribute to a high quality of life. Ultimately, I seek a place where I feel a deep sense of belonging and connection where I can build meaningful relationships.

If you were designing a future for yourself in Greater Nebraska, what would that look like?
Designing a future for myself in Greater Nebraska involves a combination of personal and professional aspirations intertwined with contributing positively to the community. I envision a home filled with warmth and laughter, surrounded by supportive friends and family. Professionally, I aim to pursue work that aligns with my passions and values, contributing to the growth and development of the local economy and community. I aspire to make a lasting impact and leave a legacy of positivity and progress in Greater Nebraska.

What’s a piece of advice you have for older generations of Nebraskans?
One piece of advice I have for older generations of Nebraskans is to embrace lifelong learning and stay open to new ideas and perspectives. While traditions and values are important, being receptive to change and innovation can lead to personal growth and greater adaptability in an ever-evolving world. Additionally, I encourage older generations to share their wisdom and experiences with younger generations, fostering intergenerational understanding and collaboration. By staying curious, engaged, and actively involved in their communities, older Nebraskans can contribute to making meaningful contributions and inspire others to do the same.

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